Links 9/10/2020

Delivery Driver Jumps Into A Pool To Save A Drowning Dog The Dodo

Hunter Dies After Injured Bison Charges Him Vice

Animal Populations Fell by 68% in 50 Years and It’s Getting Worse Bloomberg (Dan K)

More than 400 sealed ‘craters’ are ticking time bombs from a total 7000+ Arctic permafrost mounds Siberian Times (guurst)

Dozens of scientific journals have vanished from the internet, and no one preserved them Science (Dan K)


LIVE Global coronavirus deaths pass 900,000 BBC


How the Coronavirus Attacks the Brain New York Times (Kevin W)

Statistics, lies and the virus: Tim Harford’s five lessons from a pandemic Financial Times (David L)

How to Read That Damning Sturgis Motorcycle Rally ‘Superspreader’ Study Like a Scientist Gizmodo (David L)

AstraZeneca CEO says participant had neurological symptoms, could be discharged today StatNews (furzy). Help me. This was a serious reaction or they would not have paused the trial.

Dentists Are Seeing an Epidemic of Cracked Teeth. What’s Going On? New York Times. Wear an appliance! If you can tolerate them (they are bulky), sport biteguards are cheap and sturdy.


U.S. Airports to Stop Screening International Passengers for COVID-19 Starting Monday MSN (ma)

New York City to Resume Indoor Dining at Restaurants Wall Street Journal

University of Michigan undergraduates support grad student strike, say school favors profit over health MLive (ma)


The Pandemic’s Most Treacherous Phase Project Syndicate (David L)

The US needs $3 trillion to undo the economic damage of the pandemic, but policymakers seem unable to hear that message, economist says Business Insider

White House looks at more executive actions as coronavirus-relief talks appear finished Washington Post

Six months into the recession and a 11.5 million jobs deficit remains Economic Policy Institute

Gordon Brown launches radical campaign to stop mass coronavirus unemployment Mirror. UserFriendly: “Why can’t our shitty neoliberals call for what looks to be a weak sorta JG?”


TikTok, U.S. Discuss Ways to Avoid Sale Wall Street Journal

Tense India-China border raises fears of escalation DW. Brexit isn’t even over the fold.


Irish PM warns Boris Johnson over plans to recast Brexit deal Financial Times

EU would be allowed take legal action over ‘clear breach’ of Brexit deal RTE

Brexit: deliberate sabotage? Richard North. Discussion of and link to draft bill.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Your Man in the Public Gallery – Assange Hearing Day 8 Craig Murray (UserFriendly)

Body cameras may have little effect on police and citizen behaviors: study PhysOrg

Portland, Oregon, passes toughest ban on facial recognition in US CNET (UserFriendly)

Ireland To Order Facebook To Stop Sending User Data To US Wall Street Journal

Imperial Collapse Watch

Why the Blob Needs an Enemy American Conservative (Kevin W)

Trump Transition

February 7 Tape of “Deadly Virus” Conversation Between Trump and Woodward, and More Buzzflash

Trump privately called coronavirus ‘deadly’ while comparing it to flu publicly: Woodward book The Hill

U.S. intelligence official told to halt Russian 2020 election meddling threat assessments: whistleblower Reuters (UserFriendly)

Whistleblower alleges top DHS officials sought to alter intelligence products to fit Trump’s comments The Hill. Did everyone forget about WMD in Iraq?


Can American Democracy Be Saved? Atlantic (resilc). Awfully late to be asking.

Biden and Trump fight over Rust Belt workers Washington Post (UserFriendly). Would be nice if either of them actually meant it.

Black Caucus faces upheaval as progressive pressure rises Politico (UserFriendly)

Woman told to remove anti-Trump shirt, votes topless in Exeter, New Hampshire Washington Times (resilc)

Joe Biden Accuses President Trump of Lying About Coronavirus Threat C-SPAN (Kevin C)

California (and Oregon) Burning

2020 Worsening Western Wildfires Climate Central

Wildfires Blot Out Sun in the Bay Area New York Times (David L). Reader David in Santa Cruz said yesterday was like being in the apocalypse. The air wasn’t terrible but you could only see rusty orange instead of the sky and it turned to night dark by 3:30 PM.

Fires without precedent rage in usually cool, wet Northwest Associated Press (David L)

Oregon governor says towns have been ‘substantially DESTROYED’ by huge wildfires, loss of life expected RT (Kevin W)

Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook won’t remove anti-vaccine posts despite Covid concerns Guardian (resilc)

Amazon adds former National Security Agency director to board after JEDI fight CNBC (Kevin W)

Have You Noticed How Push-Back Against Powell-Fed’s Actions Is Getting Louder in the Mainstream Media, from NPR to CNBC? Wolf Richter

Gundlach Says High-Yield Bond Defaults May Almost Double Bloomberg

Guillotine Watch

Elizabeth Holmes May Pursue ‘Mental Disease’ in Her Defense Bloomberg (UserFriendly)

Class Warfare

Discrimination in University Admissions John Kay (David L)

Vacuous. Venal. The family that warped a generation: As the curtain falls on the infamous reality show, SARAH VINE — mother of a teenage girl — says Keeping Up With The Kardashians has done more to set back feminism than anything else this century Daily Mail (Kevin W)

Antidote du jour. Craig and Barbara:

Barrett, our Great Pyrenees, died peacefully in his back yard yesterday. He was 11 and a half years old and a rescue who had been with us for half of his life. Barrett enjoyed long walks on the beach and around the neighborhood. He was protective of his family and had twice graced these pages as an antidote du jour. RIP, Barrett.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


    1. ambrit

      Amazon should outsource the job next time, and there will be a next time, to the Russian Foreign Elections Guidance Directorate. They get things done.

      1. edmondo

        Next time, Bezos should engage a Democratic Party consultant. He’d spend ten times more, get worse results, hire 7 people from the Obama Administration, and then blame the people of Idaho for the voting totals in Portland.

  1. epynonymous

    Oddly enough, the police cameras will fail to change behaviors for the same reason policing fails to change behaviors.

    Nobody ever thinks *they* will get caught.

  2. Wukchumni

    Thinking of setting up a GoBurnMe page, selling scattered piles of downed wood on the floor of a forest about to be torched by one of hundreds of conflagrations somewhere in the western states.

    All proceeds go to funding future prescribed burns…

    1. Off The Street

      Careful what you wish for, some enthusiasts have taken to extracurricular, or extrasylvan, locales like highway medians. Nature doesn’t need help in that department, and those, ahem, enthusiasts are criminals.

  3. fresno dan

    The US needs $3 trillion to undo the economic damage of the pandemic, but policymakers seem unable to hear that message, economist says Business Insider

    The fact that BEFORE a presidential election, when the electorate has the MOST influence, and the unemployed are a significant faction of the electorate, a needed relief bill can’t be passed is just astounding. There is something seriously wrong with how the political system functions. How is it that so many people can be ignored by the political system???
    When you consider how homelessness and lack of medical care is accepted, it seems obvious to me that if mass starvation with emaciated people falling down in the streets dead occurs, this will be tolerated as well.

    1. timbers

      Fear not. Biden has a solution:

      Employer based health insurance. Trump’s and Jerome Powell’s solution: Make the stocks go up!

      MAGA. All is well. They both have ideas the rich approve of. We can’t go wrong either way.

      1. polecat

        That’s because all us lowly mokes are shackled to a fixed steering wheel .. with a brick on the gas pedal, heading straight for the bloody ditch!

        We can’t got wrong .. We can only BE wronged!

    2. Kurtismayfield

      Voting us so attached to being landed that the unemployed don’t even figure in their equations. They know that the majority who vote are older homeowners who could give a crap about their Uber driver not finding work.

      1. Liquid Amber

        So relieved to see Uber drivers mentioned here. I have looked at Proposition 22, the California gig-work initiative and it is very bad. Measly benefit increases (guard railed by careful wording) for the workers and a massive power grab for the corporations. This article comes the closest to deconstructing the Proposition:

        I also wrote 2 long comments on this blog on Labor Day with what I discovered. In my opinion, if this passes, we will be referring to it 20 years in the future as one of the foundational causes of the bad state of labor. Somewhat like the bankruptcy reform bill.

        1. edmondo

          It won’t take 20 years. Why don’t Uber and Lyft just take every driver’s first born child? It’s time to bring back Powder Monkeys who can service the vehicles while the Uber driver gets some sleep after an 18 hour shift. Better yet, a repeal of the 13th Amendment would do wonders for Uber’s bottom line. Won’t someone think about the corporations?

    3. IMOR

      Too many completely safe districts. Twenty years of 100% television/net ‘campaigning’ in 80% of districts. Decline of media outlets by two orders of magnitude, self-preservation sycophancy by and direct payoffs to today’s ‘reporters’. Ridiculous 30-year inhibition against shaming proudly ignorant reps and rich reps acting like pigs (this final one fading in last couple years). First and third of these account for 60% of the disconnect you identify in your comment: third is actually a symptom of the late 80s complete buyout of the FCC and FTC.

    4. Bob

      Ignoring the electorate is simple – They don’t donate.

      The electorate doesn’t donate and does not get a place at the table.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Please, please stop with the “donate” meme. What campaign contributions, book deals, junkets, revolving door jobs and all the other Perks truly are is BRIBERY, pure and simple. That the legislators taking the bribes, and the judges they approve, say that BRIBERY is “all nice and legal,” for various warped distinctions, does not change their character.

        Call it what it is: BRIBERY.

    5. JP

      It’s a set up. Congress won’t act so executive orders will be issued to make the pres look good just before the election.

    6. Grant

      One major factor is that there isn’t a powerful, mass leftist movement that actually scares them, yet. I, personally, don’t think the New Deal or the Great Society programs would ever have happened if the Socialist Party, the Communist Party, mass social movements and (at the time) far more radical unions weren’t at the gates and scaring them. It moved FDR and he was able to reason with enough capitalists about some structural changes, or else the system they all supported was on the outs. There are no radical movements or parties on the same scale at this point, and Biden, Trump, Clinton, Bush, Clinton, Reagan and on are all pretty much worthless. They also don’t feel the need to do much.

      To me, the breaking down of society isn’t just horrible policies and systemic corruption, or the fact that capitalism as we know it and markets themselves are key drivers in the environmental crisis, it is also a giant gap between the opinions of those that vote and feel some representation in the system versus those that don’t. Those that don’t seem increasingly open to divine violence, violence that is an expression of anger at the system but with no clear political ends in mind. But, the left is growing, and it does have policies and a coherent program to move society in another direction. So, maybe those that don’t traditionally vote can rescue us from the majority of those that have voted society to this state, if the left solidifies around a coherent program people can organize towards. From what I see of Biden, he has nothing to offer those that don’t vote (the young vote less than the old, the poor less than the middle class who also vote in lower numbers than the rich, and people of color vote less than white people), he doesn’t seem to care about them what so ever, and he has no solutions to an of society’s problems. He is chasing the same pool of voters, and they collectively have made bad decisions going back decades.

      The scary thing about violence without any clear direction is that it can be used by a skillful autocrat to do bad things, just as much as it can people seeking equitable and human structural changes. The left’s biggest problem is going to be getting people to have any faith in electoral politics, given the damage done by right wing, neoliberal policies and the corruption of the system. People, understandably, have an attitude of “seen these promises before”. Remember the change you can believe in? Remember Trump taking on the establishment? Where did that get them? What did the Democrats do to Bernie (twice), and what does it do through the DCCC and the DNC to candidates on the left? Oddly enough, the horribleness of the neoliberals has so gutted faith in electoral politics that they can continue to win even though their policies, leaders and ideas are failed and now deeply unpopular.

      1. Aumua

        We need a march on Washington. Show up at the doors of Congress and say YO! wtf are you a-holes DOING here? Quit screwing around and open the coffers up now.

        1. MijoMo

          Actually, what we need is to organize people to protest outside of state rep and state senator’s own homes. If they won’t ensure our quiet enjoyment of our property, they get none.

      2. Mike

        Let’s complete the story… capital learned via the Depression, WW2, and the following usurpation of UK’s and France’s empires that the Left could be circumvented, infiltrated, and suppressed via mass media as propaganda, McCarthy-style hearings, and huge expenditure for more meaningless jobs (see David Graeber’s “Bullshit Jobs” for reference) that scared or enticed the working class away from radical thoughts. The truncated real Left (fewer than the CP membership rolls, by far) never would have a prayer of rising above the debate-amongst-themselves level. Even with the Sixties as a rising level of democratic thought, socialist policies were never on the table. Programs that included tons of pork were, though, and thus your modern Democratic Party.

  4. Krystyn Podgajski

    RE: Covid-19 vaccine trial participant had serious neurological symptoms, but could be discharged today, AstraZeneca CEO says

    The other patient that was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis during the study? Well MS is a disease of the myelin sheath as well and transverse myelitis is often associated with it, so how can they not rule out the vaccine might be a trigger for MS or any of the several demyelinating diseases?

    The MS diagnosis is a handy way to remove people who have adverse reactions.

    1. Redlife2017

      Oh good gods. They are really going to try to hush up any issues. Get MS or get Covid? Are these a–holes kidding?

    2. The Historian

      Yes, I questioned that too. I know VERY little, as in completely nothing, about biochemical processes in the body, but as I understand it, MS is an autoimmune disease. Could it be triggered by an immune response to the vaccine?

      1. Susan the other

        And just to add my own irrational fear to the mix – and no I have no scientific understanding here – but: Strange illnesses and autoimmune disorders increase every year, autism (a subject that is verboten in connection with vaccines) is another. It has been 3+ generations now since the push for vaccines began with the polio and measles vaccines in the 50s. They have been very successful for their purpose. But, if what we are using now is an mRNA vaccine we could be in very deep trouble because acquired immunity is proven to transfer to the gene cells from the soma cells. (“Lamarck’s Signature”). So things like an innocent, but not perfect vaccine, can go on to become diseases over time, over generations. Heritable ones. Just like diseases that sweep through a population caused by recessive genes. I’m thinking Tay Sachs disease (spelling?). Or the blood disorder that plagues black populations. We are playing with fire here and it concerns me to distraction that nothing takes precedence over the profits that big pharma is planning to earn. In two generations it’ll be IBGYBG for all of them. And, worst case, us too. And no, I don’t trust any of them as far as I can throw them.

        1. campbeln

          FWIW, it seems that Agent Orange has been a contributing factor to the collection of autoimmune disorders by descendants of those exposed.

          My wife has the chronic version of Guillain-Barre Syndrome triggered by the flu shot. It’s not thought to be genetic, yet her sister came down with the same condition within a year (no flu shot / other exposure in her case). Neither had shared the same home in over a decade (so it’s not environmental, seemingly).

          Anyway… my point is that we’ve been playing with a bunch of chemicals that could contribute to this in excess of vaccines. Then, mix in some questions re: the internal biome (re: fatter babies and fatter wildlife) and the environment has been changed a lot by something(s) that are having wide ranging effects :(

        2. skippy

          There is an increasing abundance of neurotoxins in the environmental back ground, know of a case where a hobbyist wood worker was diagnosed with MS. Seems almost 2 years of wood working and coating [industrial level exposure] was responsible.

          Several years after stopping the hobby the symptoms diminished.

        3. Mummichog

          “We are playing with fire here and it concerns me to distraction that nothing takes precedence over the profits that big pharma is planning to earn.”

          First, this is very similar to Bailout the Criminals 2008. There is a health problem therefore it must be solved as QUICKLY as possible, so give loads of loot to Big Pharmaggedon, many of whom have criminal records as in 2008, and they will solve it with a never-ending, inject-over-and-over vaccine. And like 2008, the problem and solution only get worse never better. From Financial Engineering we have gone to Medical Engineering; the Crime Wave spreads.

          Secondly, we are ignoring many other solutions to Covid19. We are possibly continuing to debase and weaken the natural human autoimmune system with ongoing vaccines and human intervention. And there are other treatments, strategies. Already, there is some evidence that prior natural exposure to the flu may enhance resistance to Covid19. These vaccine studies ignore all these possible unintended consequences.

          Your distrust of this Shortcut Science is well taken. I worked for a marketing consulting company which did marketing studies for Big Pharmaggedon. Studies which were done to find out how to hustle the drugs to the Doctors. The owner of the company was a sociopath. I remember him saying that the most important thing was to find out what the Drug Execs wanted to hear and then just turn out a marketing study to reflect their desires. That’s all and he was very successful. An absolutely venal, unethical, corrupt business. And I never met a person in that biz who had any ethical concerns.

          Lastly, I am hoping Sweden can show the way. If they have herd immunity, I would think they have no need of a vaccine. Of course, PharmaFather may have other ideas.

        4. Yves Smith Post author

          There is strong evidence that the autoimmune classification is bunk. A board certified rheumatologist who was also on national boards, Dr. Tom Brown, was frustrated that all he could do was manage his autoimmune patients’ decline. He started investigating the research and was shocked to find that before WWII, there were studies focusing on a pathogen, mycoplasma, which is somewhere between a bacterium and a virus. Aside from three pulmonary mycoplasma that HIV positive patients are susceptible to, they can’t even be tested for in a normal lab.

          After WWII, the autoimmune thesis was fabricated out of whole cloth to justify the success of symptom-suppressing drugs.

          Brown had great success in treating these “autoimmune” diseases with tetracycline, an old, off patent antibiotic. But because there is no research money for studies using old drugs, and the Brown protocol is costly in study terms (it takes 6 months before most patients start seeing improvement, and most are symptom-free in two years), there is only “experimental” level research support for his approach.

          My father had an obscure “autoimmune” disease. He had to go through a lot of hoops to get his blood to a lab across state lines that could test for a broad range of mycoplasma. His MD friend called with the test results: “Your blood is swimming in it.”

    3. a different chris

      I hate to be seen as being anywhere near Facebook’s side on anything, as I am so not.

      Unfortunately although “anti-vaxxers” are wrong in the general sense, they may be right for a specific vaccine. And I can see using the “anti-vaxxer!!! Ignore!!!” argument against somebody trying to point out that something isn’t working.

      Free speech is a way tougher problem than “hey this didn’t render properly”.

      1. JP

        Let’s see, if I have my numbers right, the vaccine got a severe adverse reaction in 1 out of 2500. The mortality rate for covid 19 is about 1 out of 100. I think I will take my chances with the vaccine. Given all the people who will not get vaccinated, I’ll be dead of natural causes before the disease works it’s way through society for the storied herd immunity.

        1. ewmayer

          That is fallacious reasoning – you assume said vaccine will be effective at preventing covid-19, so far all we have to go on is “promising antibody responses”. That level of adverse reactions would only be worth tolerating if the vaccine were *highly* effective.

    4. vidimi

      basically, the people most at risk of COVID-19, those with underlying conditions, would be unable to make use of the vaccine

      1. The Historian

        Maybe, but maybe not?

        For instance, in 1976, the rushed to market vaccine for H1N1 flu caused some cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome, but we now have vaccines for the H1N1 flu that do not. As I understand it, Guillain-Barre Syndrome is also an auto-immune disorder.

        So, can a rushed to market vaccine for Covid cause some cases of MS? How many? And how do you tell if you might be susceptible? Would it be better to wait for more information even though Covid is causing so much havoc?

        These are questions I can’t find answers to. I’m hoping those with a great deal more knowledge than me on this subject can respond and give me some things to consider because a vaccine will probably be coming out soon and we will al be encouraged to take it.

        1. Synoia

          Just look up the History for Thalidomide.

          With any vaccine, I might accept a shot as patient 1,000,000 +and a good year after mass vaccinations.

          1. Arizona Slim

            My mother knew someone who got Guillain-Barre Syndrome from that H1N1 flu vaccine. It was a real ordeal to recover from.

            And me? I went to high school with a Thalidomide Baby. She had one leg — that was the ONLY limb she had. The other three were artificial and not that easy to manage.

    5. vlade

      Sorry, but one case means absolutely nothing, either way. There’s 15k + testing participants I believe. That _should_ catch most of the non-trivial side-effects, but no test can catch all possible side-effects, the biochemistry of most living organisms is just way too complex for that. We can hope to get most of them only after an extended period of time.

      This is not just AZ, but any vaccine problem.

      The fact is, no vaccine is perfect, and with our current knowledge, never will be.

      Smallpox vaccine can kill you, and has a host of other rare side-effects. But the mortality from smallpox vaccine is trivial compared to mortality from smallpox. It’s also a way smaller than being killed by a number of “common” death causes.

      Vaccines are, always, a trade-off. The important thing is to have data and to know what can happen and how often. One incident is not data, it’s an anecdote.

      And, I’d point out, that in a number of countries that have free health system have required vaccinations. If you refuse (on other than clear medical grounds), you’re then liable to pay for your treatment even if it’s normally free, should you become ill with that particular ilness.

      Yes, it may be unfair to the individual. But required vaccination is not an individual affair, it’s about societal benefit.

      1. The Historian

        Lets think about this a bit. So in a pool of 15,000 people they are finding 2 bad results. Scaled up to 330,000,000 people, that is about 44,000 bad results. Are we in the US willing to accept that many bad results?

        And since the vaccine has been in Phase III testing for only about two months, the testing that is supposed to find these problems, could the bad results even be higher?

        I’m not an anti-vaxxer by any means, but I think we should all be concerned about taking a vaccine that hasn’t been thoroughly vetted and I just don’t think 3 months is a long enough time period to catch all of the harmful effects.

          1. campbeln

            My wife has the chronic form of Guillain-Barre Syndrome thanks to a flu-shot required by her Green Card application.

            Her ongoing treatment costs are $11,000-15,000 every 5 weeks (IVIg seems to vary wildly in cost week to week).

            We currently have health coverage, but who pays for that if we don’t?

            Those 44,000 may not be dead, but without universal coverage… who’s going to pay for their medications, treatments and care?

        1. Ignacio

          If we go on speculating, you have to evaluate this severe adverse effect and its outcomes against the casualties plus other severe effects that Covid could cause with or without the vaccine. This cannot be evaluated so far but I think that AZ has room to go on with the trial and the vaccine still could be overwhelmingly positive depending on the results. For MS as for most diseases, early detection almost certainly helps to avoid the worst outcomes given it has a treatment. So having identified this risk (surely they were closely watching for this possibility) would help ameliorate the impact of the adverse effect.

          Yet, other candidates could come with less adverse effects and get priority. For what I have read this adverse effect has been seen mostly with vaccines made on viral vectors.

      2. Krystyn Podgajski

        I agree with what you are saying. My problem is with AZ possibly playing with the numbers by excluding complications caused by the vaccine saying they were pre-existing conditions. The amount of money to be made from a vaccine is astronomical so to have good faith is difficult.

        You said “One incident is not data, it’s an anecdote.”, but for all we know it was two adding in the MS case that dropped out, or maybe how many more?

        US News reported:

        RBC Capital Markets analyst Bryan Abrahams cautioned the trial participant’s condition must be thoroughly investigated. “Even a single case could possibly imply a rate or association higher in the study than what is normally observed sporadically” he wrote to investors, adding a one in 10,000 risk, if confirmed, would likely be unacceptable

        We cannot compare this to past vaccines since the threat and the monetary reward is much higher this time, IMHO..

        1. Phemfrog

          I disagree with your worries about the incentives. The flu vaccine happens every year and is given to millions of people. They make tons of money on it. They don’t fudge the trials for the flu vaccine for more profit. There is a disincentive for messing with the trials. The shot can get pulled back off the market, and then your competitors product wins that market share.

          1. Krystyn Podgajski

            The incentive for a vaccine overrules the search for prevention. That alone could be the the scandal.

            But the vaccine developers, they would never lie for more profit,nothing to see here:

            In 2012, GSK payed out $3 billion in a fraud settlement GSK agreed to plead guilty to a three-count criminal information, including two counts of introducing misbranded drugs, Paxil and Wellbutrin, into interstate commerce and one count of failing to report safety data about the drug Avandia to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

            There is zero rationality in the market. It is a myth. There is only greed.

            1. jef

              “There is zero rationality in the market. It is a myth. There is only greed.”

              I believe you are wrong by writing it off as greed. It is not greed, it is them playing the game by the rules and being highly successful at it. The game is capitalism and the successful mindset is to embrace “the profit motive”. There is no other motivation that will help you to succeed.

              1. mpalomar

                Forgive me if I misconstrue your point, which I believe you yourself contradict. I will only add that society is not a ‘game’ despite the efforts to make it so by those who believe such empty blandishments. By the way the belief that the game is played by the rules is naive, it’s more about dismantling, bending and breaking them. ‘I’ll be gone you’ll be gone’ regarding rules

                I recall one nauseating piece of pseudo wisdom from the 1980s-90s when the ‘bottom line’ and the ‘profit motive’ became the ultimate justification for whatever destructive Wall Street ‘game’ of market manipulation delivered the biggest profit. ‘He who dies with the most toys wins;’ along with, ‘because markets,’ are doubtful societal organising principles that have however brought us a ‘planet on fire.’

                “There is no other motivation that will help you to succeed.” Well that and check your brains and conscience at the door. One might also ask, succeed at what? If I misunderstand your sentiments I apologise.

                1. jef

                  Excuse me???? What world do you live in where you can honestly state that it is “pseudo wisdom” when it still dominates life on the planet and is the #1 reason that nothing real can be done to make things better or address anything plaguing life on the planet? Do you not read the ANY of the articles posted on this web site?

                  1. mpalomar

                    Judging by your reaction, I do seem to have misconstrued. Yet you claim, “The game is capitalism and the successful mindset is to embrace “the profit motive”.

                    I wonder how you would parse the degrees of difference between ‘the profit motive’ and ‘greed.’

                    You also seem to suggest because of your conviction regarding the essential operative factor, the ‘profit motive’ that capitalism is built on rational behaviour and operates by rules, either assumption is doubtful. Some describe it more as a casino.

                    Consider the irrational exuberance and resulting bubbles, and as far as rules, companies such as Theranos or Wells Fargo or the practices of Amazon, Microsoft and Google as they deploy monopolistic practices beyond the boundaries of the rules.

                2. fwe’zy

                  You both appear to be saying similar things. It was pseudo-wise to declare that greed is good, and yet that pseudo-wisdom rules the earth. I see no disagreement between you two on the illusory nature of the success that greed brings.

    6. Schmoe

      This needs no further explanation:

      ” Statistical data from these latter sources seem to show a significant correlation between the number of hepatitis B vaccinations performed and the declaration to the pharmacovigilance of multiple sclerosis occurring between 1 and 2 years later. The application of the Hill’s criteria to these data indicates that the correlation between hepatitis B vaccine and multiple sclerosis may be causal.”

  5. Democrita

    Barrett is a very handsome fellow, and was lucky to find you (and perhaps vice versa). Heartfelt condolences.

    Apropos dying in your own back yard … When we moved into my grandparents’ house after they died, we inherited a cat — an outdoor cat (I know, I know). He got old and then seemed a bit sickly, and then disappeared. Stopped coming home for meals and skritches. We wondered and looked a bit, but could not find him.
    Years later, we cleared out under the bushes in front of the house, and found a perfectly-in-place skeleton. He had laid himself to rest just a few feet away from the house in a cozy spot under a yew.

    1. Jos Oskam

      Wonderful dog. I am sorry for the loss. I can imagine the bereavement.
      Our old Leonberg laid himself down one morning in the garden. His breathing became more and more laboured. It was obvious he was going to go soon, there was not even time to summon a vet to put him down. He drew his last breath in our arms.
      The thing is, when we looked up again, we saw our four cats sitting quietly in a circle around us, all looking at the spot where the dog died. It looked like they were mourning, and paying their respects. I’ve never seen anything like it.
      Since that day, I the forever skeptic/cynic/atheist, am convinced that there is more communication between animals going on than we humans can imagine.

      1. savebyirony

        A similar thing happened in our family. Jet, our 15 year old pure black and silky sleek indoor/outdoor mousing cat started to noticeably slow down and atypically for him not want to go out. For a few days, he was content to sit inside on the window sill in the sun and watch our two dogs play outback, instead of spending time outside as well. Then one morning while we were making breakfast and feeding our pets he went over to his water bowl, took a shallow drink and then curled up on one of the dog’s bed lying near by. It was not unusual for him to nap there, with or without the dog, but then his breathing started to become labored and very shortly he died. When I looked up both our dogs were sitting right there looking at him, with the German Shepherd, Bella, looking especially connected. They were closer, and I could tell she was a little depressed and mourned Jet for quite some time.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      Cats know somehow. One of my old cats had gotten to the point where he stopped eating, which is never a good sign for cats, and in his last days he would go outdoors and try to hide under a bush and refuse to come out. We had an inkling of what he was trying to do and brought him back in because we didn’t want him to be alone. Hopefully that made his last couple days a little happier.

    3. JohnnySacks

      Sad, but gets me thinking as I often do from watching my parent’s plight about whether or not I’ll be granted the opportunity to die at a nice old age peacefully in my back yard.

    4. Rod

      so sorry for your friends passing on, and the void left. looks content taking a wade and I’m sure his aroma after that joy was nothing but perfume in your mind-as a small part of his whole package.
      it sounds like passing in the comfort of his place was a gracing for your family. a prayer for him, and you.

    5. anon in so cal

      So sorry about Barrett. We lost one of our two beloved dogs in June from malignant melanoma. She was the sweetest, dearest animal. We got her 9 years ago as a rescue based off the Los Angeles Animal Shelter photo listings. Turned out she had been horribly abused and was cowering in the corner of her cage at the shelter. It was a month before she would come inside the house. We had a euthanasia vet come to the house and it was a horrible scene, due to Covid.

    6. Janie

      Barrett – what a beautiful dog! Losing our pets us so hard.

      Decades ago, our dog seemed to know how sick our cat was. He licked her all over, something he had never done, just before we took her on her final trip to the vet. She seemed to be grateful. I know, anthropomorphism, but I don’t think so.

  6. fresno dan

    Barrett, our Great Pyrenees, died peacefully in his back yard yesterday. He was 11 and a half years old and a rescue who had been with us for half of his life. Barrett enjoyed long walks on the beach and around the neighborhood. He was protective of his family and had twice graced these pages as an antidote du jour. RIP, Barrett.

    Condolences on the loss of a true and loyal friend. I had never heard of Great Pyrenees until I saw the movie The Biggest Little Farm which is a great documentary on a couple who start an organic farm. Don’t be turned off by it being a documentary – it is very entertaining. Anyway, the couple came upon the idea of using Great Pyrenees, I take it typically used as sheep dogs, as chicken dogs to protect their free range chickens from foxes.

  7. Henry Moon Pie

    San Fran pics–

    If you have not read Octavia Butler’s dystopian Parable novels, now would be a good time. Written in the 90s after the Rodney King insurrections and set in the 2020s, her vision of the future and our miserable present are remarkably consonant. Just as interesting is her creative way out of the misery.

  8. Livius Drusus

    Re: Biden and Trump fight over Rust Belt workers.

    While I get the arguments against the Electoral College, part of me feels like it is cosmic justice that the Electoral College exists and forces both candidates to at least pay some heed to the Rust Belt and other declining areas like rural America. If we just had a popular election I could see many of these “flyover” areas being dismissed as hopeless and irrelevant. The big metro regions, dominated by the professional/managerial class, would call all of the shots politically. Of course, we have yet to see either major party do much to help declining regions but at least these regions still have some political clout.

        1. a different chris

          Trump is from New York and Bill Clinton is from Arkansas, so I think that assumption needs another look, no?

          1. JBird4049

            The Electoral College has been in existence and in use for over two centuries. It’s purpose is not to guarantee a complete block of the supremacy of the most populous states, but to prevent the less populated ones from being ignored altogether.

            Maybe Bill Clinton was able to become the President is because of the Electoral College? Hilary Clinton is not because she ignored the Rust Belt States.

            1. Efmo

              I think Ross Perot took more votes from GHW Bush than Clinton and that is why Clinton won in ’92. I think I read that somewhere a while ago, so I don’t know for sure.

        2. Jomo

          There’s never been a POTUS from Florida. Just sayin. Trump says he’s from Florida now, but he lies about everything. They do come here for vacation.

    1. Chromex

      So having an anti-democratic way of choosing a president , which has twice in the last 20 years ( and perhaps 3 times by November) allowed the candidate that the majority of Americans did not want, is better and gives the disenfranchised workers more concrete gains? And does not weaken the concept of democratic rule? I do not agree. It just allows clever candidates more room to manipulate ( without result or with a worsening of result) and makes even more people feel disenfranchised. It should be abolished. I say this as someone who dislikes Clinton and Gore and feel they would have made terrible presidents.

      1. Acacia

        As Livius says, without the EC, candidates would ignore and never visit “flyover” US.

        How would that make fewer people feel disenfranchised?

        1. a different chris

          Because at the moment everybody in urban areas feel disenfranchised and legitimately so.

          So if I enfranchise 3 people while disenfranchising 2, then you know that’s a good thing and too bad for the 2 but it ain’t a perfect world.

          Your very statement shows the problem: everybody is focused on red state voters because of the EC. How many campaign events (open to the people, not 10k/plate dinners) are held in New York City?

          1. tegnost

            you’re arbitrarily claiming that 3/2 ratio, also everyone in urban areas “feels” disenfranchised? Your very statement shows the problem, which is hat everybody doesn’t agree about anything.

            1. a different chris

              >you’re arbitrarily claiming that 3/2 ratio

              Um, no, that was an illustration? And yes, everybody to a first approximation does feel disenfranchised in urban areas. No, the super wealthy do not, very few of them though.

              A Trumpist in an urban area is a good mirror example, sure he has Trump as President but everybody local he hates.

              And everybody certainly doesn’t agree about everything, but just as certainly they agree on a lot of things. In fact it would be hard to have 300+ million different opinions on any given subject. So I can’t even tell what you think you are saying.

              Anyway, I hate to link to Mother Jones but it was the first thing that popped up. Here is an example of disenfrachisement:

              On Tuesday, senators representing 153 million Americans outvoted senators representing 168 million Americans.


              1. MT_Bill

                The other way to look at that is Senators representing 27 States outvoted the Senators representing 23 other states.

                Seems legit.

                1. mpalomar

                  Another way to look at it is most of those 50 senators don’t represent the interests of the voters.

                  Visits by candidates to flyover country are theatre unless those candidates are seriously talking about universal, single payer health care, de-funding the military, raising the minimum wage, taxing billionaire wealth etc.

          2. ewmayer

            “Because at the moment everybody in urban areas feel disenfranchised and legitimately so.” — “Everybody”, really? But even setting aside your ridiculous hyperbole – the bicoastal urban-elite PMC may be feeling a smidge electorally disenfranchised by not waking each day to “America is already great” proclamations by Mommy Wokest from the White House, but compare their distress at not having a psychopath-in-chief possessing the proper decorum to that of the flyover-country deporables, who have been most thoroughly economically disenfranchised over the past half-century thanks to the policies of those poor, currently-electorally-disenfranchised bicoastal elites. One form of disenfranchisement literally immiserates and kills it victims, the other induces bitter Twitter rants and McCarthyite delusions in its victims.

            So excuse me if I don’t cry bitter tears over the disenfranchisement of your smug urban “optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward” class.

        2. voteforno6

          How many of those flyover states are being visited now? The reason why they campaign in the
          Rust Belt states is because they’re battlegrounds. If it wasn’t close in those states, then the campaigns wouldn’t pay much attention to them.

        3. lyman alpha blob

          I think it would unfortunately depend on how a candidate is polling. If there are two candidates polling within a few percentage points of each other, then the candidates would be wise not to ignore any states. But if one candidate is ten points ahead, which translates to several million votes, then yeah, there’s no way the candidates spend much if any time in the smaller population states. If you have a ten million vote lead, why go to Vermont, for example, at all? Even if everyone there voted for your opponent you still win by over 9 million votes.

      2. Noone from Nowheresville

        The rules of team sports and obstacles to overcome are well-known in advance. Either you’re playing to win or just for show. Blaming the other team is part of the political WWE show. Brilliant scripting and showmanship. Each year, the stakes and the dopamine factors get higher and higher. Well done! Ratings are through the roof.

        Abolishing the EC would most likely require a constitutional convention. Which opens the floor to other amendments not just an EC one. What better way to promote democracy by the people and for the “people” who count. ya know, those “people” who have their dream lists, boilerplate legislation, think tanks and educational / bureaucratic systems at the ready should such an event be called. Welcome to The Machine.

        1. Noone from Nowheresville

          Was thinking about blame a bit more. The teams aren’t blamed. It’s the rules, game board, officials and especially the other team’s nose-bleed seat fans with a good dash of the general spectators caught up in the show who are ultimately to blame aka have “failed” the game… show.

      3. Pookah Harvey

        Which party wins in the flyover states? Do they actually do anything for them, no. But Republicans at least pay them lip service which is enough for a win. The electoral college is working as it should in giving a say to a large minority population. The Democrats are just stupid in ceding the rural community to Republicans without any policy fight. Rural areas use to be strongly Democratic, yes even in Idaho.
        As Blyth has pointed out, people do vote in their own self interest. Rural people are saying “Hey, how about us!”. You would think Democrats would pay attention.

      4. Tom Doak

        No Presidential candidate has gotten the support of a “majority of Americans,” ever. In the old days we restricted who could vote; since then we have restricted who you can vote for, to the point that only half of eligible voters even bother.

        Abolishing the EC has just been latched onto as an excuse for losing.

    2. JCC

      I’m inclined to agree. The EC is just a fact of life for the present. Without it the US would be ruled by the Northeast and West Coast (in the last election by “blue” cities). With it we seem to be ruled by those States with the greatest amount of votes.

      And with it or without it we are ruled by two parties that have not given us legitimate choices in the recent past or foreseeable future.

      1. Acacia

        Yes, this is why breaking up the duoparty stranglehold seems more pressing (to me, at least) than any discussion of getting rid of the EC (which isn’t going to happen anyway). Of course the Dems would like to junk the EC, because that would help consolidate their power base in the blue cities.

        The real take-away for me is that the talk of junking the EC is mainly revealing of a desire to permanently disenfranchise all of “Deploristan” (remember that none other than HRH HRC herself said in 2017 that the EC “needs to be eliminated”).

    3. anon in so cal

      >Rust belt workers….particularly in the auto industry….Hunter Biden at it again….

      “An investment fund named Bohai Harvest RST (BHR) partly owned and directed by Biden’s son, Hunter, and Secretary of State John Kerry’s stepson, Chris Heinz, had just a few years earlier played a vital role in facilitating the sale of the Michigan-based auto parts maker Henniges Automotive to one of China’s main military aircraft makers, Aviation Industry Corporation of China or AVIC.

      That 2015 transaction approved by the Obama administration and its Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) came just 15 months after the United States publicly added one of AVIC’s subsidiaries to a Commerce Department blacklist (known as the “Entity List”) and just months before the Obama administration resumed patrols in the South China Sea because of increased Beijing military aggression in the region, where AVIC-built military jets partake in China’s activities….” [italics added]

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Hey what are you, some kind of nationalist or something? You know, that band of Orange crazies who want to try to do things that benefit the nation they live in?

        Get with the program citizen, did you not hear the nice man on CNN saying that we need free trade and open borders?

        You know, where you get to compete mano-a-mano with workers on the other side of the world with no indoor plumbing and no benefits?

        I can’t believe people are so short-sighted and stupid, of course we want a world where all the money and jobs migrate to the lowest cost countries, because in return we get…we get…well I can’t remember it all right now but it’s really really good, doncha know.

        Biden/Harris 2020 for the win! Maybe he can make Hunter his special Free Trade Envoy…the lad has a real knack!

  9. timbers

    Re: The US needs $3 trillion to undo the economic damage of the pandemic, but policymakers seem unable to hear that message, economist says Business Insider

    And unable to hear that message, they should be!

    Because they know the Fed has given about that same amount to Wall Street, corporate America, and the rich – about $3 trillion in totally free money – to them.

    Nancy knows this. She must. She’s rich and must own assets that have inflated to the moon, thanks to the Fed’s free money programs for the rich. No way she can help but notice she all the rest of them have been made fantastically wealthier…thanks to no other reason but Jerome Powell and the Fed.

    Chuck Schumer, Trump, McConnell, many in Congress, the rich, and even most/all members of the Fed including asset rich Fed Chairman Jerome Powell are huge asset holders who seen their portfolios rocket to mars and beyond for no other reason than because of the free money for Wall Street welfare programs they all voted for at their Fed meetings and defend on the TeeVee – in the name of helping The Little People, our essential workers.

    It’s an emergency, after all. No rich person shall go without seeing their assets quadrupled under the watchful eyes of our Federal Reserve. Elon Musk, Apple, that law breaker who owns FaceBook.

    And that’s as close to a cure for Covid as any of these rich folk can wish for.

    1. Wukchumni

      In the midst of the GFC, I noticed an interesting trend in that every too big to fail concern related that their losses were $3 billion, kind of an agreed upon amount. We didn’t talk in trillions back then.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Little noticed, that while more and more economists notice and debate MMT, with TPTB mostly ridiculing it and saying how dangerous and stupid it would be…they went ahead and implemented it for Wall St and big corporations

  10. BillS

    Regarding scientific journals disappearing: If there ever was a motive for functioning libraries, this is a BIG one! If it’s happening to scientific journals, what is happening to journals that deal with the humanities? I imagine it could be worse for them.

    In the slow-motion collapse of Rome in the West from 3rd to 5th centuries, a hallmark of this collapse was the decay of education. Those who were proficient in Greek practically disappeared by the end, and Latin writers lost the educated elegance they once had during their Golden and Silver eras. The economic and social collapse destroyed the ability to preserve written works securely. Private libraries died with their owners or were destroyed in war and chaos brought on by the collapse.

    Is this our future? Perhaps I am being pessimistic. Just that digital documents seem very precarious compared to paper ones. Will they last?

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Make the data public and publish it. Libraries are the best solution but free public dissemination of the data will provide robust redundancy.

        1. polecat

          We’re gonna need more scrolls.
          .. and scribes to illuminate them .. and monasteries to house them .. and monks to defend them ..

          Hard Copy! .. none of this ephemeral digital sh!t ..

    1. Phillip Allen

      I have been advocating for years that the most important task in front of all of us alive today is preserving knowledge and skill sets that will be necessary/useful in whatever emerges from the collapse of the world’s present arrangements. I believe that world will be vastly more local, with a much lower set point for available natural resources and that will, of necessity, be far less industrial and far more agrarian. Any knowledge preservation technology dependent on fragile electrical grids and devices dependent on also-fragile, widely distributed, interdependent manufacturing systems, will not be viable in the future. If we were a sensible species we would engineer our transition away from global industrial capitalism in a way that preserved resources and lives, but we’re not a sensible species.

      1. hunkerdown

        Millions of ruling-class members have spent thousands of years perfecting the technology suite of husbanding commoners like livestock (working class) and draft animals (middle class). One key aspect of that tech is the heartfelt belief that rulers are somehow qualitatively and innately different in some desirable way from those they rule, rather than the predators and pests they are.

        In other words, We, on average, are a sensible species that believes most humans are better off treated as livestock so that a small portion of them can experience paradise, and which livestock spend thousands of hours trying to convince themselves that being prey is better for them than the alternative.

      2. fwe'zy

        Phillip, to the contrary and possibly counter-intuitively, the decentralized deindustrialized arrangement you describe would impose a heavier burden on land and water use.

        1. c_heale

          I disagree completely. The current industrialized, centralized world has caused global warming. If we want to survive, we have to go back to accepting we are part of nature, instead of trying to separate ourselves from it.

          I don’t it is necessary to use the original poster’s name in the reply. It comes across as talking down to them.

      3. Jeremy Grimm

        I could not agree more strongly!

        You identified two areas of knowledge, knowledge per se, and the knowledge in possessing skills.

        Knowledge per se, is held in printed books, and journals, and increasingly in digital form, too often in digital form only or primarily. Knowledge is also preserved in the objects produced using knowledge — ‘know-how’. The U.S. has already exported and lost much of this know-how and may or may not be able to acquire that ‘know-how’ in the future. Some of that know-how might only apply to production processes of the present. I suspect much know-how — even that seemingly applicable only to the high energy production methods of the present — holds wisdom more broadly applicable.

        Present forms of digital knowledge have but the lifetime of a mayfly. Bits are ephemeral in their lifetime on media and their lifetime in human knowledge. Even if bits were eternal they are but bits if they cannot be read and assembled into human readable form. So far, there are no long-lived, and applicable — applicable using simpler much more primitive and low energy technology — data readers. Even using present technology I would argue that digital readers are inexcusably limited by the ceaseless quest for profits. I believe there is no wisdom in efforts to store knowledge for posterity if posterity extends beyond half a generation and less. I believe the GRID will be the most telling casualty of collapse — a vertible marker for collapse. [I sometimes amuse myself wondering how our superwealthy expect to step out of their bunkers holding any part of the great digitally represented wealth and power they once held when they leave their bunkers — assuming their exits are neither welded-in, nor blocked by heavy vehicles or cairns, or booby-trapped.]

        In general, printed media is far more durable than digital media and I hope that human readers of the printed word are not overly scarce. But most of our forms of printed media have lifetimes of a century or several centuries at most, perhaps a millennium with good fortune. Beyond a millennium, reading printed media could prove difficult, especially if there are limitations in the durability of the language in which they were printed. Language pronunciations, words and their meaning change over time, sometimes or often, most remarkably.

        Knowledge of skills — full knowledge — of skills can only be passed from a master to a capable student. To master a skill requires years and a special intuition and genius in using human hands. Skills can be committed to written or digital form, but that form passes only the ghost of a master’s skill. I believe many or most skills could be re-learned and re-mastered, though through a painful and slow process. I am not arguing that skill sets should not be passed on, but that if they weren’t they might not be lost. I could also argue that the world after collapse would engender great changes in existing skills.

        Knowledge could and probably will be lost in the collapse. But how much of the knowledge lost could ever be regained? Much of our present knowledge assumes a very large expenditure of energy in its discovery and also assumes large teams of multi-skilled experts to come up with new knowledge from the milieu of large expenditures of energy. The major fusion projects all move forward on the insights from teams of multi-skilled experts. To what extent is scientific knowledge dependent on the scale of the effort? Could the Manhattan project have successfully proceeded with a much smaller staff? How many key insights required the thoughts and the interaction of comments from a wide range of participants? Could the key insights have been reached independently? And if they could, who would reach to those insights?

        I have read of the ways that Science and engineering scale with the size and expertise of the team assembled to solve a problem, and scale with the complexity of the problem. I am not sure whether that is true or not. Can Science or Engineering accrue from many small discoveries by many spread and uncoordinated efforts? Some Science and Engineering has indeed accrued but are there discoveries that only large scale and large expenditures of energy could discover?

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Did petroleum legs carry forward our Science and Technology? If so, knowledge lost or forgotten after the collapse may never be regained. And there is so much Knowledge we have yet to discover, so many waiting discoveries our Science neared before it was debauched by Neoliberalism, and made thrall to the Market. I believe Science may be the only human tool which might discover an energy source to replace fossil fuels. To this layman – heat seems a much unexplored resource and catalysis is still not well understood.

          [A strange thought – Science has long been a dependent of warfare – not inherently – but because Science requires a large level of support which until recent times only the pursuit of warfare has offered. If the madness of Humankind is the sponsor of war, and war the parent of Science and Technology – would a technical Society have been built without the impetus and expenditures of war? Is curiosity and the value given Science sufficient in-itself to support Science in a age when Humankind has evolved past its drives toward war? Perhaps not. That might provide another kind of answer to the Fermi Paradox.]

          We were a highly technical and scientific Empire. I suspect the development of our Science depended on the burning of fossil fuels. Our Science was built through the devoted efforts of a large population of suitably talented people after their lengthy education and special training. I believe this requires means to feed a population large enough to contain and support the efforts of enough scientists among them to build Science. It is not clear that Science could have reached our level of scientific knowledge without a certain scale of effort. This is the idea that no accretion through time of the efforts of great scientists could arrive at some of the discoveries made by a large team of great scientists working together in a large scale collaboration. Fossil fuels provide the pesticides, fertilizers, and run the machines that make it possible to grow the large quantities of food needed to feed the large non-farming population required to build large scale Science. If large scale Science were the only way to discover an energy source to replace the burning of fossil fuels, and if we are unable to build and sustain enough of the alternative energy sources we have so far discovered, with our generations Humankind may have reached a pinnacle of all human civilization never to be approached again. This tie between fossil fuels and the pillars that support, produced, and characterize our Civilization in the times before torments me. When I could identify it, I tried especially to preserve the scientific knowledge we might not again discover without the advantages of huge amounts of energy – something the future may not enjoy for a very long time and perhaps never without knowledge from some store of our present knowledge.

      1. hunkerdown

        Hard disk drives, hermetically sealed in an anti-static container, should last for decades with the power off. Include an acid-free paper copy of the SATA standard for best readability, and hope they can still chop electricity into inch-long pieces in the future.

    2. Carolinian

      Unfortunately many libraries have decided that, in the age of the internet, archiving is “not my job.” At my county library books or movies that haven’t been checked out in a year get shipped off to the used book store. We’ve had discussions here about how printing on paper is more archival than than electronic formats but that depends on somebody being willing to store all that paper.

    3. Synoia

      In the slow-motion collapse of Rome in the West from 3rd to 5th centuries,,,

      What a coincidence, That’s when Constantine moved the Capital to Constantinople.

      1. BillS

        Constantine did not move the capital to Constantinople. He had an imperial residence built in Byzantium and renamed the city after himself (big egos – those emperors!). The division of the empire had recent precedent under the Tetrarchy instituted under Diocletian to stabilize the Empire after the Crisis of the Third Century. Constantine ostensibly ruled from Rome but was usually on the road and was very active in Western affairs, carrying out many military campaigns against Germanic tribes in the borderlands as well as fighting insurrection within the Empire. He also carried out many large construction projects in the West (Trier, Arles, etc.)

        Byzantium was already recognized for its strategic importance 100 years before by Caracalla and Septimius Severus and these emperors had carried out extensive works on the city well before Constantine. Constantinople was to become the splendid capital of the East – Nova Roma – and integrated into the whole of the empire as a center of learning and culture.

        It is interesting to note that Constantine originally wanted an eastern capital in Serdica (present-day Sofia). Thessalonika and Sremska Mitrovica (Sirmium) were also candidates.

        1. BillS

          He did rule from Constantinople in his later years, tho’..because it was “his capital”! His choice was mainly a result of personal vanity than strategic requirements.

    4. Ed Miller

      It’s not just that digital documents seem very precarious compared to paper documents. My biggest concern is the ease with which digital documents can be edited. Inconvenient history is now more easily erased.

      I knew this as soon as Wikipedia explained how their editing works. There is ample evidence already at that site, but for us older people the history told in the next decade might be amusing if it isn’t vomit inducing. Not that this hasn’t happened before, but it can be done more quickly when the evidence completely disappears. The younger generations will never be able to see what once was possible.

      1. hunkerdown

        One of the Pirate Bay guys had the idea of covertly placing single-board computers with suitable power arrangements and plenty of disk in inconvenient places (up a tree, under a bridge) to provide public data repository services via Wi-Fi to passersby. Sort of like the USB flash drives people were embedding in walls long ago a la geocaching, but harder to damage.

        For subject matter libraries, the university libraries seem to have the most institutional alignment with long-term knowledge preservation and the most practical experience with it. They just need to get a better ethic about serving the larger public’s research needs. If that means rescanning the entire collection every 30 years to replace bad tape, it’s worth it for distribution alone.

  11. fresno dan

    Vacuous. Venal. The family that warped a generation: As the curtain falls on the infamous reality show, SARAH VINE — mother of a teenage girl — says Keeping Up With The Kardashians has done more to set back feminism than anything else this century Daily Mail (Kevin W)

    Vacuous. Venal. The family that warped a generation: As the curtain falls on the infamous reality show, SARAH VINE — mother of a teenage girl — says Keeping Up With The Kardashians has done more to set back feminism humanity than anything else this century Daily Mail (Kevin W)

    I guess that has done more is hyperbole – but the success of something that so celebrates unadulterated self absorption, narcissism, and materialism may not be the cause of such behavior, but it certainly is dismaying at how many embraced it.

        1. wuzzy

          will we be forced to watch more tv and videos so we can understand those around us?

          all too often the intelligentsia in our coffee klatch will quote a movie star who recited the words of a script writer…..

        2. Drake

          ‘Kardashian’ was once just a collective term for a group of people of Armenian descent with no discernible positive qualities of any kind. Someone, it is forgotten who, one day observed a Kardashian in the wild and found it to exist in a ‘famous’ state, much to their surprise. Shortly thereafter, all nearby Kardashians were also observed to be in a ‘famous’ state. It is unknown whether they were already in this state, or whether the observation of the initial Kardashian somehow induced them into a sympatheitic state. There are speculations that observed Kardashians in one or more alternate universes exist in ‘non-famous’ states, and we in this universe simply got lucky.

          1. Kilgore Trout

            Amusing ourselves to death with America’s longest running tv/internet show: “Livestyles of the Rich and Fatuous”

    1. paul

      Vacuous. Venal. The family that warped a generation.
      The author could well be describing herself and her husband, the slithy Gove.

      Of course she should leave the Mail in protest as they are ms K’s most ardent promoter here in the crumbling kingdom.

    2. pjay

      Thanks for the edit. Very fitting.

      I hate much that’s on TV today. But I oppose censorship, and as long as I can gripe like a grouchy old man I’ll tolerate whatever irritating show family or friends want to watch. Except for one.

      It is not a rational thing, I know, but I absolutely forbid any show with the Khardashians on it in my home. To me, what they symbolize goes much deeper even than this article. I can’t *quite* put my finger on it, but the monumental “celebrity” of this family says something profound about what’s wrong with America. The media is full of commercialized, manipulating, titillating, soft-porn crap. But my reaction to this group is different. Not quite sure why. Good riddance – though I’m sure they’ll still be floating around for a long time.

      1. vidimi

        they occupy a similar role to that which trump once occupied before he was president: a narcissistic, spoiled brat with no self-awareness born into wealth

        1. Aumua

          Succinct and to the point. Some people lose sight of these basic qualities in the spectacle and controversy, and project all kinds of b.s. onto the guy.

      2. jr

        Exactly. There is something absolutely vile about that entire situation and it’s a problem. Imagine how many tween and teen girls have had cosmetic surgery because of those warped creatures. How much visual and aural pollution they have generated. How much landfill.

      3. mpalomar

        “I hate much that’s on TV today. But I oppose censorship…”
        How about regulation? There was the thought that TV( and radio), when it was a broadcast industry, were conditionally using the public airwaves and had a responsibility to the citizens regarding content.

        Not that electronic media ever delivered very much in the way of important content to the public, still there was the principle; and then de-regulation and cable and the internet happened and opened the spigot. The resulting flow of effluvia has been less than edifying.

      4. wilroncanada

        There’s something you dislike about them, but you can’t put your finger on it?
        Sounds like the reversal of a bad come-on line.

    3. JTMcPhee

      My first thought on starting to read the link entry was that it was talking about that other notorious family, the Clintons. Speaking of creatures that have warped the polity badly over a couple of generations, so far…

      And let’s not forget the Murdoch clan, the Bush League, and dare one say it, the Rothschilds?

  12. noonespecial

    Re: Biden/Trump fight over Rust Belt workers article Washington Post – Quoting same: “Trump plans to hold a campaign rally at an airport hangar in Freeland, Mich., on Thursday. He is airing a commercial in the state that says the economy is ‘coming back to life’…”

    To believe that the possible $161 million in corporate welfare to the coal industry is not a Trump bet to show off his coal-saving prowess is foolish. Bernie Sanders’ tweet referenced in the link about a provision buried in the 285-page GOP bill Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools, and Small Businesses Act

    At the poker table that is this campaign, will Biden raise, fold, or see the bet aimed at W.Va/Pa coal country?

    Either way, at some point between now and 11/3 one of these personages will be having scrapple and eggs near some coal foundry.

    1. a different chris

      >a Trump bet to show off his coal-saving prowess

      He’s being trying to save coal for 4 years and…? So “prowess” is a word that doesn’t quite fit here methinks..

      But yes in a state that was so close every vote counts it may make some sense. Again though, he’s playing to his base which is going to vote for him anyway. And if he thinks they might not, well that….would be something.

      1. a different chris

        PS: a foundry is for making metal castings. The word you want is “tipple”.

        Yes, I grew up in Western Pennsylvania. Why do you ask? :D

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          But but but Biden says he will not ban fracking:

          Oops wrong link.

          And/But? He’s for the Green New deal:

          Oops wrong link again. But hey, he says he didn’t know that he was at a fossil fuel fund raiser:

          Forget fracking. This guy, who doesn’t even know what room he’s in, gets the briefcase with the nuclear codes?

  13. zagonostra

    >Susan Sarandon: I said I’m voting Biden against Fascism & for down ballot candidates

    I watched a Jimmy Dore live stream last night and it seems like he is a lone wolf howling in the wilderness. He is staunchly calling out those Hollywood types, like Sarandon who I’ve always liked, for pledging to vote 2 months ahead of election for Biden. He excoriated Michael Moore, like only JD can, giving me a much needed cathartic release.

    I will not be voting for Biden, substituting one loud-mouth fascist for one who is a puppet of what the “American Conservative” link above refers to as the “Blob.” I would rather the mask fall so I can clearly look into the eyes of the enemy to let them know my resolve will not be placated, redirected, erased.

      1. notabanker

        Perfect. And trump is like a stick and pail of gasoline. So we either wander around in the dark or hope the place doesn’t burn to ground. Democracy in action, US style.

    1. Acacia

      Reading this tweet from Susan Sarandon, the first thing that came to mind was the final scene of Thelma and Louise, when their car hurtles off a cliff.

        1. Pookah Harvey

          Yep, “nothing substantially different”. We will still have:
          a President that says global warming is “a Chinese hoax”
          a President that has totally dismantled any Federal pandemic response.
          a President that is throwing out all EPA rules.
          a President that has removed the ability of Bureau of Land Management from protecting public lands.
          and most importantly a President that is actively trying to violently pit Americans against each other.

          Biden ain’t no great shakes, but name me any of the above where you really, really don’t think Biden would be a smidgen better. It’s going to be either Trump or Biden, so who do you want to fight….Biden and his horde of PMC minions or Trump and the AR-15 wielding Bugaloo Boys? It shouldn’t take reading The Art of War to figure that out.

          1. zagonostra

            Who do you think will lull the resistance more effectively? Who do you think will be given more time, time the country can’t afford, to turn things around? The answer is obvious, O’Biden.

            The “PMC minions” will go back to sleep like they did with Obama. The “AR-15 wielding Bugaloo Boys” will have to wake up when they lost their jobs access to healthcare no matter how much scapegoating Trump does.

            Also, who is more likely to start a war? Who is more willing to make compromises with the MIC and big Pharma? No there are no good choices, but don’t delude yourself into the false logic you construct.

            And a re-reading of the Art of War, along with The Prince would indeed be a good idea.

            1. Pookah Harvey

              “The “AR-15 wielding Bugaloo Boys” will have to wake up when they lost their jobs access to healthcare no matter how much scapegoating Trump does.” With Trump still in charge this remains tribal and they will still quite possibly believe his scapegoating, if they wake up at all. On the other hand if Biden is in charge when they lose their jobs and healthcare what will be their response? Do you think they can be persuaded to actively fight Biden neo-liberal policies, maybe not with, but at least alongside progressives?

              ” who is more likely to start a war?” Check out the Doomsday Clock, closest to midnight in its history. Trump says he wants to end our brush-fire wars, emphasize the “says”, while antagonizing a heavily militarized Iran and nuclear-armed China. What’s your poison, brush-fire wars in third world countries or a possible hot war with Iran or China. Not to mention Civil War here.

              ” Who is more willing to make compromises with the MIC and big Pharma?” Check out Trumps largest in history military budget or the billions in no strings attached Covid contracts to big Pharma.

              “One of the great secrets of the day is to know how to take possession of popular prejudices and passions, in such a way as to introduce a confusion of principles which makes impossible all understanding between those who speak the same language and have the same interests.”-Niccolo Machiavelli

              Guess who has been reading The Prince, Biden or Trump?

              1. Pookah Harvey

                PS: Who cares about the PMC Resistance? The progressives need to ally with the working class. This is more difficult since Trump has successfully created ” a confusion of principles which makes impossible all understanding between those who speak the same language and have the same interests”. Without Trump enraging the population, engagement may be possible.

          2. pjay

            I think NC commenters are pretty much polarized on this issue, so I’m not sure further comment will contribute anything. But it is cathartic, so…

            Biden might be a “smidgen” better on one or two of these particular issues — though in terms of *action* rather than rhetoric, I can’t see that the Obama administration helped much, if at all, here. On the other hand, I see him as just as bad or worse on other issues. And it’s not just Biden’s “PMC minions” — though many of these have much more power and influence that the motley crews of Bugaloo Boys scattered around the country. It’s also powerful elements in the permanent State, the intelligence community and its global propaganda apparatus (AKA the “mainstream media”). Many of us keep saying this over and over, but Trump is a narcissistic con-man who can demagogue pretty well, but he is in way over his head with the real powers that be. He did not construct our massive “national security” apparatus, nor is he a part of our globalist foreign policy establishment. On the contrary, these people hate him and have tried mightily to oust him for four years. He’s managed to hire some really terrible people as advisors, but he hasn’t always listened to them. On the other hand, the Dems have assembled a new and improved “Washington Consensus” of the worst neoliberals and most of the neoconservatives who are not still hanging on in the Trump administration. Rhetoric aside, Biden has a 40+ year record that tells me he’s much more likely to follow these guys than any of the Bernie Bros serving on some hopeful “unity” committee.

            Trump is capable of doing considerable harm, given his clueless impulsiveness. But there has been one positive aspect of these last four years; they have been tremendously Clarifying! Trump derangement has led the Liberal Establishment to drop all pretense and expose itself completely. Although there are nuances between factions within this Establishment, for the most part it’s been a steady trajectory in both foreign and domestic policy since 1991. Trump, whether wittingly or not, has screwed this up while showing us our real face. There is some grim satisfaction in that.

            I won’t vote for Trump. But I think all hell is much more likely to break loose if he wins than if he loses. The *real* powers that be — and this ain’t the Boogaloo Boys — will really lose their s**t.

            1. JBird4049

              Arguing over who is less horribly awful is like debating on whether to drink that glass of radium infused lead water or that glass of lead infused radium water; you will still die a prolonged, horribly painful death of bodily rot and madness, but hey, there’s a choice of slightly different symptoms.

      1. Noone from Nowheresville

        In my most positive moments, I hope that the bandaid off is ripped off, and we have real resistance in the form of building local / regional resiliency in order to build some type of foundation before The Jackpot arrives. Rather then counting on our “elite” institutions to “save” us.

        Of course that presumes there’s still time. The more cynical me says we’ll probably end up like Jor-El and Lara.

        Even so, next spring I’m thinking of trying my hand at Hügelkultur so that’s something.

        1. Fritzi

          Except that we of course can’t send some kid to a distant world where he/she gets another chance to live, thrive and do great things.

          No Last (lost) Son of Terra, who becomes a Man of Tomorrow, for us.

      2. km

        “What happens then?”

        The moral, intellectual and electoral bankruptcy of the DNC is again laid bare for all to behold, that’s what.

      3. Goyo Marquez

        Well what has happened since?
        – Incompetent response to a pandemic which has resulted in almost 200,000 deaths and almost destroyed our economy. If Trump were a military general with those numbers Trump would be first in line to call for him to be fired. The buck stops with the president.

        1. Acacia

          Would the pandemic response from Dems in power have been any more competent?

          Given Biden hiding in his basement, the volte-face on masks, and the Dems steadfast refusal to address the disaster of health care in this country — a disaster that has been unfolding for decades now, and which in large part they own — it seems quite doubtful. I guess for the “2017 is year zero” crowd, it’s all Trump’s fault, of course of course, and next time the Dems are in power Lucy won’t yank the football away. Is that it?

    2. JohnnySacks

      The anger in the responses to her Twitter thread were totally off base, embarrassing even. The lead-in wasn’t controversial in the least, and the thread clearly documented the abject incompetence of whatever excuse for a campaign staff he has working for him. I mean the gall to not even pay attention to updating your home site for months while your candidate remains hiding in his basement.

      1. jef

        JS – I totally agree with you. I know that that is small praise around here but for the first time I see in her logic a reasoning that is lacking in most. At this point Biden must win to get tRump out, while at the same time build a massive ground up coalition of peoples parties/ Bernie folks to force a revolution that needs to…nay… will happen as it is the only option going forward.

        We all missed a golden opportunity by not using Bernie as the instrument to force change. Instead we sit back and wait for someone else to do it for us. Not going to happen. Lets MAKE it happen. {cue chorus of kumbaya}.

        Not being cynical at all. I am all in and have been for 20, no 62 years now. Just ask anyone who knows me.

    3. anon in so cal

      Sarondon needs to read BAR:

      “….The bad news is, the U.S. Left is so weak, it has been unable to put forward a narrative that explains the multiple crises that have been so devastating to the American people, or to even minimally fulfill our obligations in solidarity with victims of U.S. imperialism around the world. Imagining fascism in cartoon terms personified by Trump, leftish Americans appear to believe that anti-Trump equals anti-fascist, when in fact Trump represents a Jim Crow atavism that the Lords of Capital have been trying to discard for half a century, in order to exercise power more effectively. They have, instead, been constructing a 21st century fascist order in which a tiny number of billionaires can rule without effective opposition, while much of the world is locked in a forced “Race to the Bottom” and all of humanity lives in terror of endless U.S. warfare.

      President Obama was an operative of that fascism – which is no cartoon, and kills millions. So are all the corporate Democrats. They are the most dangerous because so few people conceive of them as fascists, despite their abject subservience to corporate dictatorship, the carceral state, and endless warfare. We will beat Trump, for the simple reason that he does not represent the actual capitalist ruling class. The oligarchy wants him beaten – and they want us to thank them for pursuing their own interests, and getting rid of their own problem: the kind of service that oligarch Michael Bloomberg performs when he buys control of the Democratic Party’s infrastructure and purchases the loyalty of a substantial section of the Black political (misleadership) class.”

      1. orlbucfan

        What’s the deal with Twit(ter)? Why does this site hold so much power? At least 75% of the idiots on there are beyond literate, judging by their posts. What’s the deal? Who came up with (Twit)ter and made a killing on it?

  14. fresno dan

    Woman told to remove anti-Trump shirt, votes topless in Exeter, New Hampshire Washington Times (resilc)

    So the woman asked if he wanted her to take her shirt off. She wasn’t wearing anything underneath.

    “I said I’d rather she not,” Scafidi said. “But she took it off so fast, no one had time to react. So the whole place just went, ‘whoa,’ and she walked away, and I let her vote.”

    He noted that she could have just gone into the hallway and turned it inside out.
    What ever happened to a picture is worth a thousand words???
    He noted that she could have just gone into the hallway and turned it inside out.
    seems to me that people could still see, even inside out, that it is a Trump t shirt. The law demands no political t shirts, then If hiding the t shirt meant unhiding the boobs, well, that is a price we just have to pay…a nation of laws, not men, etcetera….

    1. The Historian

      We really do have a boob fetish in this country, don’t we? Kudos for the to that guy who let her vote! He could have called the police and made a big deal out of basically nothing!

    2. vidimi

      the part i found offensive was that her t-shirt called john mccain a her. that’s why i would have asked her to take it off

    3. Off The Street

      There is a quasi-Puritanical aspect to that dress or behavior code.

      In days of yore, there was a suspicion that someone, somewhere was having fun*, and that had to be suppressed.

      In our modern, enlightened times, someone, somewhere will remember seeing something. T-shirts turned inside out are triggering! Not only must that display not be allowed to occur, but the memories must be suppressed down the old hole.

      *If you prefer the original Mencken: “Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”

      Of course, he also referenced the Booboisie, so there is that. (.)(.)

      1. Fritzi

        Today you might very well find yourself the odd one out if you think that having fun or even being happy is not exactly the most important thing in life.

    4. LifelongLib

      Several years ago when I worked at polling places here in Hawaii, we were issued lab coats that people wearing campaign shirts could put on while they were voting. I guess you can’t do that now because of covid (and voting here is all mail-in now anyway). The only time I saw one used was when somebody was wearing an Abercrombie and Fitch shirt, and one of the candidates on the ballot was named Abercrombie.

  15. The Rev Kev

    “U.S. Airports to Stop Screening International Passengers for COVID-19 Starting Monday”

    Bit of a head-scratcher this one. The only explanation that comes to mind is that as the virus can now be said to be endemic to the US, visitors from overseas are less likely to be carrying the virus in. Well, maybe not for places like Brazil and India but you get my gist. That being the point, maybe the message behind this is that America is once again open for tourists – and the money that they bring in. Lots of businesses could do with the boost of foreign tourists spending money in America.

    1. Mr. Magoo

      My guess is enforced mask wearing goes next (or being able to enforce mask wearing). Nothing de-legitimizes enforcing a mask requirement more than not even bothering to go thru the motions of some sort of testing (whether it is effective or not).

      1. Alfred

        It seems to me that US policy has for some time now been slouching toward official promotion of mass infection, and that the country is about to arrive at destination. In this perspective, the re-opening of educational campuses (from kindergarten through university) takes on the appearance of a proof-of-concept demonstration.

      2. Fritzi

        Fits perfectly with the article I just read, about how mask wearing reduces not only infections, but also the severity of the sickness in those that do get infected, well, at the very least least in hamsters.

        Nah, my gag rag stays on.

  16. collapsar

    I wonder if Pelosi will be less dismissive of global warming concerns if the fires threaten her ice cream stash.

    1. WhoaMolly

      I keep wondering how Pelosi gets away with snubbing local premium ice cream makers in San Francisco. She imports her ice cream from far away, instead.

          1. polecat

            I’m sorry for icecream in general .. for receiving such a bad rap..

            I give you the phrase: a ‘Bowl of Cold Nancy’…

            pseudo truth .. that melts instantly upon lip’s touch!

    2. The Rev Kev

      I would imagine that Nancy is at home on her Italian leather lounge right now with a bowl of deluxe ice-cream and enjoying the view of the orange sky outside.

  17. fresno dan

    CNBC poll: “Majorities of likely voters believe that both men are mentally unfit”

    ????Majority???? There are people who DON’T believe that???
    I can put up with all the people who believe Elvis and Kennedy’s head are alive, and aliens (extraterrestrials) are walking among us, but that there are people who believe that Trump and/or Biden are mentally fit shows the end is nigh.

    1. Wukchumni

      I saw Elvis in a pawn shop in Pixley hocking a 14k ‘TCB’ ring, and then he went to a 7-11 next door and bought a neighborhood gulp. He hasn’t aged well.

    2. a different chris

      Haha but you might have to ask what the respondents definition of “mentally unfit” is…you are right that it should be 100% but that’s pretty much true of any Presidential election where the “if they want to be President, they shouldn’t be” is still a really accurate guide.

  18. zagonostra

    >Can American Democracy Be Saved? – The Atlantic

    Our collapse is so complete that the field lies open—the philosophical questions brought on by despair allow us to reimagine what kind of country we can be

    It really boggles my mind when sentence like the one above are meant to be taken seriously. Who is this “we” who will all of a sudden have the power and the will to “reimagine” the allocation of resources and political power?

    If Joe Biden wins, a continued Republican Senate majority could obstruct his policies even more than a Republican minority did President Barack Obama’s.

    What polices, O’Biden has been very careful not to lay any out, nothing but bromides coming from that camp. Obama, be serious, he never was serious about fundamental changes, just look at how he negotiated healthcare reform. And my goodness, appealing to Neera Tanden’s “A new social Contract for the 21st Century,” how insulting.

    After teams made up of Biden and Sanders advisers and allies hammered out a 110-page policy platform, Sanders said, “I think the compromise that they came up with, if implemented, will make Biden the most progressive president since FDR.” At one point Biden sidled up to the comparison.

    That Sanders quote will forever stand as a smear on his legacy. How utterly fallen, he bent the knee to power instead of falling like a hero standing with a straight back. Not judging, I might not have had the will to stand either, but someone who views Eugene Debbs as a hero comparing O’Biden to FDR?

    Biden has no particular ideological stripe. He’s always been comfortable at the center of his party. The party moved left, the facts moved left, and Biden moved with them.

    Total unadulterated Bull Ships. His “ideological stripe” is MBNA and monied interest in general, like all the other corrupt politicians. And this last sentence is enough for me to say enough, this article could be a study in casuistry and dissembling history and truth.

    1. Felix_47

      How come people have all this sympathy for the fact he lost his first wife when it turns out he was in the middle of an affair with the current one although it looks like they are selling another history which is a fabricaton. This comes from the ex husband. Biden was a lying opportunist in 1988….what changed???

    2. Billy

      Steve Jobs’ decca billionairess widow has rendered her opinion about the state of the working class through her personal blog with a printed magazine that she owns to go along with it. Isn’t that nice?

    3. Synoia

      That Sanders quote will forever stand as a smear on his legacy. How utterly fallen, he bent the knee to power

      One wonders what was the promise, and what was the threat.

    4. Oh

      The person who wrote that article in the Atlantic must have smoked some hi grade stuff or is another shill or both. Obama never cared for the working class. He played the people for fools and they believed him and re-elected him. Biden is another shyster who works for FIRE. If he’s in the center then the Sun revolves around the earth. Ah, Sanders, the ultimate con man. I read the analysis of his 2020 campaign (linked from a blog on Thomas Franks’ populism) and I realized he never really had any principles and tried to shill for the DimRats. I’m sick of people like Sanders, Chomsky, Michael Moore et al who same the same thing every fours years – always in favor of the DimRats. We need people who have ideas that will help end this two party duopoly.
      <a href=";

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        It really boggles my mind when sentence like the one above are meant to be taken seriously.

        I’ll fix that statement:

        It really boggles my mind when sentence like the one above anything appearing in print in The Atlantic is meant to be taken seriously.

        Today the author of the most disgusting of drive by hit pieces (Trump says dead soldiers are losers!) admitted it was all a bunch of complete BS.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Syria is a living hell. Literally. Syria’s forests are burning uncontrollably, no one helping.”

    Well Iran is helping them. They have sent firefighting crews and planes to tackle the fires. There is a parallel with the present fires in America I think in that the Syrians are blaming a ten degree average increase in the temperature in the country along with a lack of rains over the past several weeks. Not a good combination-

    1. bob

      Using zoom earth, and selecting only “fire spots” Syria has a few small spots. Taking the fires in California and the west coast of the US together looks like it would add up to an area bigger than the whole of Syria. It’s a different, much bigger level.

      ZOOM EARTH, which I just recently found, shows how crazy the fires in the west are, compared to anywhere else in the world right now.

      1. Quentin

        We’re not in a ‘who has the biggest fire contest.’ Or are we? Then too bad for us. The blind US press doesn’t even have the decency to mention Iran’s help…b/c Iran, I suppose. I wonder if Obama ever sept the people of Russia sympathy for the demise of the Alexandrov Red Army Choir?

        1. JWP

          They haven’t even had the decency to give the fires more than a small segment. They’re too focused on the next ‘leak” from the White House. The destruction will not be televised unless its political. Admitting to climate change’s destructive forces weakens the neo’s chances of winning elections.

          1. bob

            Compared to the US and syria, Africa and Brazil make those fires look small. Who’s noticing that? Where’s the press?

        2. bob

          Where are *any* of the above helping in Africa?

          I’m sure there are lots of things Iran should be thanked for. Is that what we’re talking about here?

          The comment tried to equate (parallel) syrian fires with US fires. There is no comparison. There are differences, and the difference is that Iran is helping one of them.

          And I really do have a hard time giving Iran credit for anything. I think they’re not as bad as they are made out to be, but that does not mean they are good.

    2. Ford Prefect

      Its not clear to me why Americans would take action to make sure Syria is in better shape than California.The description of Syria above applies equally to California. In some other states, if you put in wind and flooding destruction from hurricanes instead of fire, they would also fit the bill.

      BTW, 2.3 million acres (and increasing) of fire this year in a state of 104 million acres means that 2% of California land area has already burned this year. Typically, fire dependent ecologies have fires about every 25-50 years on average. Much of California is a fire dependent ecology, so historically California probably saw an average of about 2% of its land area burn every year before people started putting out fires a century ago. The burns would have been less intense, often mainly just grassland type fires, because there wouldn’t be as much fuel to burn in a dry year.

      1. juno mas

        You’re right, California has fire dependent ecological zones (plant communities). But it is the intensity, speed of propagation, and drought- caused combustibility that makes the current situation impossible to contain.

        Climate Change has definitely impacted California’s high elevation forests, foothill ecotone (madrone/pine mix) and the iconic oak/grassland. I’ve personally experienced the changes in my lifetime.

        The bark beetle infestation throughout much of forested California has made the current burn more intense, even if the forest floor were cleaned by smaller fires.

        1. Ford Prefect

          Mountain pine beetles are native.

          They attack older, unhealthy trees and kill them. In a rain forest they would rot and fall over individually in a wind storm and become a nurse log in a clearing. In relatively arid settings, they wait to burn in a fire. So if the fires are delayed for too many years, there are a lot of dead trees and not many new ones because the pine cones often require fire to pop them open. Increased warming and drought will stress trees earlier than they would normally be stressed, so they may have shorter lives before the beetles get them.

          Forest management in the absence of fire requires significant thinning by cutting and then replanting baby trees since many of pine cones require fire to pop them open and disperse the seeds, and the fire hasn’t happened. The timber companies don’t often want to do this as it is not “efficient”. Also, the pine beetles mar the wood, so it is often not as desirable as fresh healthy wood.

          These types of woods generally do not become “old growth forests” like are found in the rain forest, sequoia, or eastern forests. They will end up with some old trees (e.g. bristlecone pines) that can survive fire and live for a long time, but most of the forest will be pretty new. Instead, they have lots of complexity of different biological environments and lots of edges between vegetation patterns.

      2. ewmayer

        “California probably saw an average of about 2% of its land area burn every year before people started putting out fires a century ago.”

        The following ProPublica piece claims scientifici consensus is around a rather larger number:

        “Academics believe that between 4.4 million and 11.8 million acres burned each year in prehistoric California. Between 1982 and 1998, California’s agency land managers burned, on average, about 30,000 acres a year. Between 1999 and 2017, that number dropped to an annual 13,000 acres. The state passed a few new laws in 2018 designed to facilitate more intentional burning. But few are optimistic this, alone, will lead to significant change. We live with a deathly backlog. In February 2020, Nature Sustainability published this terrifying conclusion: California would need to burn 20 million acres — an area about the size of Maine — to restabilize in terms of fire.”

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Dentists Are Seeing an Epidemic of Cracked Teeth. What’s Going On?”

    Putting on my tin-foil cap here, I could see another possibility. Diseases like the measles have been sweeping through countries like America because parents have been refusing to have their children immunized against childhood diseases – even though they had theirs as kids and are protected. This was depending on other parents doing the right thing so that they didn’t have to. So what if, what if, a lot of people have been also avoiding fluoride in their water because “everybody” knows that it is a poison. This would lead to maybe a general weakening of the teeth of these people which is showing up in all these cracked teeth. This is probably not true but hey, you just never know.

    1. Billy

      Some refusnicks obviously, but illegal immigration is a much larger vector.

      Refugees and legal immigrants are screened for contagious diseases.
      The CDC specifically cites the possibility of the cross-border movement of HIV, measles, pertussis, rubella, rabies, hepatitis A, influenza, tuberculosis, shigellosis and syphilis.
      Chris Cabrera, a Border Patrol agent in South Texas, warned: “What’s coming over into the U.S. could harm everyone. We are starting to see scabies, chickenpox, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections and different viruses.” Some of the youngsters illegally entering our country are known to be carrying lice and suffering from various illnesses. Because there have been no medical examinations of undocumented immigrants, we have no idea how many are carrying infectious diseases that might endanger American children when these immigrants enter schools across our nation.”

      1. marym

        Re: “Because there have been no medical examinations of undocumented immigrants, we have no idea…”

        Do you see any problem with drawing conclusions here?

        Or with the assumption that kids who haven’t been screened/vaccinated at the border will manage to “enter schools across our nation” without exams and vaccines?

        1. Billy

          “We have no idea…” Critical thinking much?

          Mexico Major infectious diseases

          “This entry lists major infectious diseases likely to be encountered in countries where the risk of such diseases is assessed to be very high as compared to the United States. These infectious diseases represent risks to US government personnel traveling to the specified country. The degree of risk is assessed by considering the foreign nature of these infectious diseases, their severity, and the probability of being affected by the diseases present.”

          That’s the general population, considering the poorest, least educated and most at risk are sneaking across the border with their children, the prevalence of disease is even higher. Plus you have Central Americans with children, where the disease stats are even worse.

          “On May 8, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice sent a letter to local and state school officials around the country making it clear that minors who are in the country without proper documents must be allowed to enroll in schools.”

          1. marym

            It would seem to require some big leaps to get from children crossing the border illegally who may have medical issues or be unvaccinated (the scope of which the quote in your first comment says is unknown); to children entering schools “across the nation” (with an apparent assumption that medical issues and vaccination status haven’t been addressed, though school districts can require physical exams and immunization, and it’s not one of the problems considered in the Heritage link); to a mid-town NYC dentist seeing “more tooth fractures in the last six weeks than in the previous six years” (which he attributes to pandemic-related physical and emotional stress).

      1. mle durham

        Yes, stress, if you actually read Dr. Chen’s article. It’s very good and covers a lot of physical territory beyond teeth. I’ve saved it to re-read as needed.

      2. Laura in So Cal

        Pre-pandemic, 4 of the 5 people in my corporate finance/accounting department wear night guards due to grinding/clenching and TMJ symptoms. I got mine 2 years ago. It solved my problems within a month or so. I can now yawn without pain and don’t get the occasional “zing” when I bite down on something hard.

    2. Synoia

      Stop watching Trump on TV,
      Not only wold that stop Jaw Clenching,
      it might also do wonders for Blood Pressure.

      One should include watch Biden in that advice,

      My mental cartoon picture of Biden is a Empty Suit
      picking up dollar bills with a spear, and shaking
      off citizens he spears as having no value him.

      My cartoon of Trump is a large, fat P…s

  21. lyman alpha blob

    Re: The Woodward “revelations”

    This is a “revelation” only to histrionic wokesters still looking for any stick to beat a dog. Of course the germophobe Trump knew the virus was dangerous, and his instinct to try not to cause a panic wasn’t necessarily bad. It was his execution that was abysmal and counterproductive.

    But the warmongering, drone assassinating, lying to Congress, lawless spook John Brennan has chimed in to call Trump an abomination, to which I say “It takes one to know one!”

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      I agree with your statement except for one word. Germaphobe. Anyone who has unprotected sex with porn stars is not a germaphobe.

      1. hunkerdown

        AAVE usefully kept the distinction between the currently “is” and the permanently “is”. Bourgeois English does not, to the benefit only of the symbol manipulators.

      2. apleb

        It just means the germophobia is less important in his psych makeup than his sexual drive.
        Not uncommon in males of all ages.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Is this like when Hillary said that she had a private position and a public position? Would a Hillary Presidency kept quiet about this as well? Like Obama, it would have been all about the optics, especially if it had an effect on Wall Street’s bottom line. Nice timing on Woodward’s part though, it being only several weeks more until the actual election.

      1. anon in so cal

        If Trump had voiced those thoughts publicly, would he have been straight-jacketed?

        This article from a few months ago chronicles the statements and misdeeds of various responsible parties who failed hugely, including the entire MSM which ridiculed fear of the coronavirus as late as February:

      2. wilroncanada

        Except that for DT, his public and private positions are the same: in public, he’s a dick, in private he’s a dick.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      This episode is another example of the cost of Russiagate. The audio is damning, but Woodward holding the audio for months and the inuring GOP voters to outrage after failing to provide evidence of treason despite Trump being spied on will have fallout. MSM outrage over the famously ignorant Trump learning about World War 1 for the first time and coming away with questions about what we were doing adds to the problem.

      Holding panic might be one thing, but the timing of this was in such a place curtailing air traffic and spread was a real possibility. It didn’t have to get into nursing homes and so forth. And given how people reacted, I think we can out the panic argument to rest.

      1. Carolinian

        It didn’t have to get into nursing homes and so forth.

        Unless Cuomo sends all the Covid infected to stay in them?

        I have no doubt that Trump, thinking about the election, was trying to downplay the disease out of wishful thinking if nothing else. But then so were Cuomo and DeBlasio who were very late to react and thereby produced lots of dead New Yorkers.

        Ultimately the measure of how well various countries reacted is the deaths per 1 million and by that measure the US is certainly not the best but also not the worst. And many other countries supposedly on top of the disease have since had outbreaks. It could be the very notion that we can control this, short of a vaccine, is itself a fallacy. Meanwhile those most vulnerable best look to protecting themselves rather than depending on the wayward pronouncements of the “experts.”

        1. lyman alpha blob

          My guess is that if Biden wins, any Covid policies he supports will be strikingly similar to what’s already happened – a Solomonesque attempt to split the baby so business can go on as normal while people stay safe, which of course really hasn’t and won’t work.

          What needs to be done – in short, paying people to stay home – is clearly not a high priority for either party. We’re [family blog]ed either way, with the only difference being the PMC won’t excoriate one of their own when they inevitably don’t do any better. Because there are still many unknowns about Covid and as you noted, this disease doesn’t particularly care about the political leanings of those in power in areas it infects.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        Well Trump did ban travel from China, and was labeled a racist for it, and in retrospect it was the right thing to do. Nobody seems to be crying ‘racism’ when other countries now ban travel by US citizens to protect themselves.

        And regarding the nursing homes, in NY at least it was DeBlasio and/or Cuomo who made the absolutely idiotic decision to warehouse covid patients in nursing homes. If there is one thing we have known for a fact since the beginning of this pandemic, it’s that the virus inordinately affects older people. There is no excuse for what happened in NY, but nobody is spending all day bashing Cuomo and DeBlasio, in fact it has often been just the opposite, despite them presiding over perhaps the worst outbreak in the entire world.

        And then there was the CDC who told us at the beginning that masks weren’t really effective.

        Trump definitely deserves a lot of blame for how he’s handled things, but he is far from the only one, and I’m really tired of the notion that everything will be better with Democrats in charge when we already have hard factual evidence of how they have bungled things themselves.

  22. rd

    Re: Fires in Pacific Northwest

    I grew up in the Pacific Northwest several decades ago before everybody assumed nature had been completely tamed.

    Summers are actually very dry unless you are in a few select locations where humid Pacific air piles up against the mountains. Many communities, especially if they are in the rain shadow of a mountain range get less than an inch of rain in June, July, August, September. So as a kid, we would be at lower elevations in areas with wildfire rating signs up in the summer. Often barbeques, fires etc. weren’t recommended in the lower coastal areas due to the dry summer. People generally paid attention to the fire danger, because nobody wanted to die in a wildfire.

    There is a strip on the side of the mountains where the humid air piles up and you get the rain forests. That is a not a huge percentage of the forests in the area.

    So I remember smoke from forest fires as a kid. It was a perfectly normal occurnece in many summers.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Elizabeth Holmes May Pursue ‘Mental Disease’ in Her Defense”

    She should be careful there. If you are sent to prison, you have a fair idea of how long you are going to be there and have hope of an early release. In a mental hospital they could simply throw away the key if they wanted to.

  24. chuck roast

    Re: Black Caucus Faces Upheaval…

    Yeah, these guys have been feather-bedding sheepdogs for way too long. Recall that the now infamous Ritchie Neal pointed to his progressive politics by way of saying that much of the money he raked in from corporate donations he redirected to the CBC. “Let’s go to lunch.” Further recall that the sainted John Lewis, Prince of the CBC, couldn’t bring himself to sign on to Jayapal’s M4A bill. Never speak ill of the dead, but this sanctimonious bum can rot in hell.

    And here we have Bobby Rush, ex Chicago Black Panther and slavish (I couldn’t resist) servant of the Ice Cream Queen and whatever is on her menu. Maybe if Bobby were black-Irish he would have never forgotten or forgiven that Fred Hampton and other of his old comrades went down in a murderous hail of police-fire for the crime of trying to form a black-white-left coalition. But it’s all about “change” for Bobby. No doubt he will “adapt” yet again.

    We can only hope that new Capitol Hill brothers and sisters will somehow resist the great showers of largesse headed their way and do the right thing…at least for awhile.

  25. Oh

    Craig and Barbara,

    Sorry to hear of your loss. He sure looks like a beautiful dog. I’m sure he’ll be waiting to greet you at the end of the rainbow bridge.

  26. JWP

    AQI in the SE Portland metro is supposed to near 2500 today as the winds shift. from eugene to portland it’s supposed to be no lower than 400. I would NOT want to be dealing with covid and fire smoke on the lungs.

  27. Idland

    Re: Eleiabeth Holmes May Pursue Mental Disease in Her Defense

    Yeah, call an witness named Mindy Mechanic as an expert witness. Trump should file that for future use.

    1. Ford Prefect

      Sociopathy as mental illnesss that makes people not responsible for their actions as a legal defence is a very interesting concept. I assume that there is precedent as it has already been used as a decision basis for not prosecuting anybody in the global financial crisis.

  28. Clive

    Duelling Brexit Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Legal Position Statements:

    In the Blue corner we have:

    And in the Red corner we have:

    Perry Mason and the Case of Mutual Sour Grapes.

    In the snarking and pouting and passive-aggressive loathing competition, the Clive jury awarded 8/10 to the EU (with the judge giving special commendation for its sparse language and slightly dreamlike-quality). The UK also received 8/10 for its homeliness and almost Edwardian resignation to how dreary the whole world now seems to be as a place. So, a tie. In the end, the judge’s tie-breaker gave the nod to the UK entry, for its especially dry and sardonic reference to Miller I and snooty “our common law system beats your crappy civil law system any day of the week” vibe.

  29. Swamp Yankee

    Re: UMich grad student strike.

    We went on strike in early 2008 when I was a grad student at U of M, and we won. They were trying to take our health care away! Something the Administration did every three years when our contract was up. Our union was better than most of its equivalents and far readier to engage in work action.

    Ann Arbor may be Ground Zero for “Listen, Liberal”-style PMCismo. The amount of times some gremlin in the bureaucracy told me they’d already given me what they were going to give me to live off for that year (eight thousand dollars), and to lump it or leave it….

    And much of the professoriate wasn’t much better. I could count on one (okay, maybe two) hands the number of working class students in my humanities grad program; most were the children of professors or other high-professionals. When one working-class colleague told a professor she was having trouble making ends meet, she was told: just “put it on your parents’ credit card.”


    The fact that her parents may neither have had a credit card, nor the ability to just cover her bills if they did, didn’t occur to Dr. Pangloss there.

    Just utterly clueless.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I think I was in the last generation of kids to go through the UMich while there were still quite a few working class students on campus.

      OTOH, I also was in a creative writing class with a girl who could write the rest of us under the table. She really was that good.

      Her last name? Gamble. Yes, she was from that Gamble family — the ones we all know from Procter and Gamble.

      She went on to become a novelist. Link to her official site:

    2. Angie Neer

      A relative is a grad student at UMich and was telling me about the strike. One interesting angle is that the union derives some of its clout from the construction trade unions; the grad students can picket a construction site, and the workers will not cross the line. However, the grad students’ demands include some anti-police measures that irritate the other unions, who have announced a time limit on their support.

      1. Swamp Yankee

        Yes, your relative is absolutely spot-on. The construction workers on a campus (I think the famous football Stadium) construction site struck with us and cost the University millions that day. We also were a lead story on local media. Management/Administration came to terms that evening.

  30. UserFriendly

    While Biden’s campaign was still formulating its domestic policies, George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer, and the country erupted in protests against racial injustice. “The vice president looked at all that and said, ‘How I respond in the face of these will be presidency-defining,’ ” Jake Sullivan, a senior adviser, told me. “ ‘I want a response that meets the moment and is true to who I have been in the campaign and over my career.’ ”

    Oh, so he is going to put all the protesters in jail for 30 years?

  31. kareninca

    My most recent dentist was the first ever to tell me that I grind my teeth. Apparently I’ve been doing it for years without knowing – I didn’t have any jaw pain or headaches. But I did cause extensive dental damage. So, I bought a drugstore dental guard. It is wonderful; it is like a pacifier.

    If you get a cheap one and find it is much too bulky (I did; I have a small mouth), first mold it according to the directions. Then take out your scissors and carefully cut it down. The thing only costs $25; if you screw up (unlikely) you can try on another. Just cut little slivers of the hard rubber-substance off until it fits nicely.

    1. Angie Neer

      I’m a serious grinder too. The thing that really surprised me is that, according to my dentist, clenching and grinding not only affects the teeth, but also fatigues the connective tissues around the teeth and gums, contributing to recession and loss of gums.

      1. kareninca

        I’m using a DenTek guard (no, I don’t own stock in it), because it is made in the U.S.. No doubt there are other U.S. made ones. Don’t get one that was made in China!!!!!!!!

        My dentist told me that a drugstore one would be fine, but it was actually kind of huge for me, so I trimmed it.

    2. Xihuitl

      Watch out for those cheap night guards. I bought one, wore it once. Made me ill. Poisoned by BPA. That was years ago. Maybe they’ve changed. That one was made in China.

      Also over the years my fancy dentist-made night guard changed my bite so much I couldn’t close my mouth properly. I threw it away. Nowadays I try to focus on relaxing the muscles.

  32. Pat

    To Craig and Barbara, please accept my sincere condolences on the loss of your beautiful Barrett. He was truly a wonderful antidote for those of us who just got to look on him. I am sure that being around that loving spirit was truly wonderful. I am so glad he had you for the last half of his life, and vice versa.

    Till you meet him again….

  33. marieann

    For beautiful Barrett:

    May the goddess guard him
    May he find his way to the Summerlands
    May his human family know Peace

Comments are closed.